Message in the Hebrews (13)

A better rest, (continued)

What is the nature of God’s rest? “For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; again in this place: ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” Hebrews 4:4, NKJV. Often, when we read this verse, we only see the “And God rested on the seventh day,” without noticing that He rested “from all His works.” God rested,  literally ceased, from all His work not because it was the seventh day, but because all His work was finished. The Hebrew Bible reads: “On the seventh day God finished the work that He has been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day…” Did God rest because He was tired? Was His rest a physical rest on the seventh day only? “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary.” Isaiah 40: 28, NKJV. “And God rested from all His work” because the creation of the earth and the life on it was finished, and all was good. There was no need to add, delete, modify, or repair anything. God finished everything needed for this planet and the life on it. God, therefore, rested from all His works forever.

We, however, could not rest forever from all our physical work because we could never finish it. We only can pause for a while, and then return to the work we are doing. Therefore, the rest we are to enter is not the physical rest but must be of the same nature as God’s rest is. “There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:9, 10, NKJV. It is essential to observe that the above verse does not say that we must keep the seventh day as God’s rest He wants us to enter. On the contrary, it instructs us to enter God’s rest to which the seventh-day points. The seventh day is the memorial to God’s rest, and we should observe it as such. The God’s rest is a memorial to His creative works; the seventh day is the memorial to His rest.

The literal rendering of the above verses, in the Greek, is the call to “share” in God’s rest. It does not speak of our physical rest. Because God’s rest is complete and forever, we should share in it entirely and eternally with Him. The rest we must enter is a permanent and total rest from our efforts to gain righteousness, holiness, and salvation. We must cease from all our efforts concerning our salvation, and rest permanently in the finished and perfect work of God in the body of Jesus Christ, on the cross at Golgotha. Our observance of the Seventh Day Sabbath should be visible evidence that we are resting in the Lord.

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Dan Lazich

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